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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

 

 

Prolific writers often have to bring to life novel ideas, which entails juggling fantasy and real-world experiences. It typically takes creative talent to captivate an intended audience from the first page to the last.

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Kara McDowell:

Our top-notch writer Kara McDowell gives us a sneak peek into the complex relationship between mental illness and artistic fantasies. Kara writes on various issues using her self-made characters, portraying struggle with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. She spent most of her childhood making up the stories that she says now with a masterly craft. Her best-selling books include One Way or Another—about a young girl who is determined to stop letting anxiety stand in the way of love and Just for Clicks—about twin sisters who are turned into social media stars when their mom’s blog goes viral. Presently Kara lives in Mesa, Arizona, where she balances her time between writing and nurturing her family. Kara is married with three children.

 

1.

How do you cope with days when you are mentally-drained, vexed, and anxious? How does it affect you being the author extraordinaire?

A1.

There are days when I feel too anxious or drained to write, especially this year. Between dealing with the pandemic and overseeing virtual learning for my kids, it’s been hard to find the time I feel inspired to write. If I’m not on deadline, I go easy on myself. I take breaks when I need it. When I am on deadline and have no choice but to write, I try to tune out the things making me anxious; I spend less time reading the news and scrolling through social media, and I sit down to write at the beginning of every day. The earlier I begin to work, the less chance my anxiety has of overtaking my brain.

2.

How do you keep your creative juices flowing when dealing with mental illness? What helps you bounce back?

A2.

When I’m feeling drained, anxious or burned out, I turn to outside sources for inspiration. I binge-read a book, watch a show on Netflix, or create a music playlist that gets me into the minds of my characters. I’ve also found it helpful to use grounding techniques when my anxiety is severe. Grounding helps me bounce back and focus on the present.

 

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3.

Do you feel there is any relationship between art (in any form) and mental health? Does being associated with art help you stay mentally healthy?

A3.

I was on deadline this summer, which means I had to write an entire book while my boys were home from school, and while the country was grappling with a deadly pandemic, natural disasters, and protests. Focusing on my art was a fantastic escape from the stresses of the outside world. The days I spent inside my invented world were some of the happiest of my entire year. The business of publishing often exacerbates my anxiety (because so much of it is outside of my control), but the actual writing process gives me something to focus on that is entirely in my control.

4.

Being a wife and an amazing mother to three lovely boys, how do you keep your personal life healthy? How do you manage to be a fantastic author while juggling with all that?

A4.

It’s hard! I don’t always have a great balance, but Nora Roberts has a lovely metaphor for balancing her family and career. She says that it’s important to remember that some of the balls you’re juggling are made of plastic and some are glass. If you drop a plastic ball, it will bounce back. If you drop a glass, it will shatter. You must know which balls are glass and prioritize those. When I’m on deadline, the glass ball is my writing. It’s okay if I drop the ball on dinner and my kids eat cereal or box macaroni and cheese for a few nights in a row. They’ll bounce back. If I’m not on deadline and my kid has an important school project to complete or soccer game we can’t miss, those are the glass balls. Maybe I drop my “writing” ball that day and don’t get any work done. That’s okay, too. I’ll bounce back the next day.

 

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5.

On a concluding note, what is one piece of advice you have for your admirers struggling with their mental health? Feel free to share tips to feel better and write better.

A5.

My only tip is that you know yourself best—if you feel like something is off with your mental health, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to speak to a professional or trusted family member or friend. Sometimes mental health issues can be helped by medication, and sometimes you may just need a change in your routine or new skills (such as grounding techniques) in your toolbox. Either way, you won’t regret seeking help to feel better!

 

At EZCare Clinic, our professional therapists and healthcare providers treat mental disorders and other health issues. Contact us today to get your treatment for anxiety and start an optimal healthy life.

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Mental health is becoming a very crucial topic in the world today as more and more people continue to fall victim to the condition. It is high time we all became aware of the hidden causes of depression and related mental illnesses. Have you ever thought that your brain health and the kind of food you eat could be the reason why you feel sad and depressed at all times?

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Detoxification, intake of essential nutrients, and incorporation of food components from all the different food groups are important for the optimal function of our bodies. It is good to note that our brain needs these foods and nutrients to function properly. We were privileged to have some of the most fantastic and knowledgeable nutritionists, physicians, and researchers share their opinions on the relationship between depression and diet.

 

1

Dr. Mark Hyman

2

Dr. Michael Greger

3

Dr. Denise McDermott

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4

Jodi Aman

5

Chris Masterjohn

6

Dr. Joel Kahn

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7

Drew Ramsey

8

Charles Mattocks

9

Sharon Palmer

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10

Christine Palumbo

11

Dr. Nanette Nuessle

12

Dr. John La Puma

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13

Dr. Chris Palmer

14

Dr. Uma Naidoo

15

Lisa Jones

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At EZCare Clinic, our professional healthcare experts can treat depression and other mental disorders. Talk to us today to prevent mental illnesses and to achieve optimal health.




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Depression is increasingly becoming a common cause of disability in developed countries. Unlike other chronic conditions that develop with advanced age, depression is both an episodic and recurrent mental disorder that affects adults with an early onset. As such, it requires long-term treatment and monitoring. Physicians typically prescribe antidepressants to patients with severe depression. Coupled with talk therapy, these medications are effective in relieving symptoms.

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Unfortunately, since antidepressants alter the balance of various body chemicals, they often cause side effects. Individual responses to antidepressants vary, hence the difference in side effects experienced. Genetic makeup and pre-existing health conditions affect how the body responds to these drugs. Below are some of the comorbid conditions resulting from these medications.

 

1. Suicidal Thoughts

As you start your antidepressant medications, be wary of the temporary worsening of depression and potential thoughts of suicide. Several studies have confirmed that this is true and common for patients under 25 years. Most patients experience these side effects in the first weeks of taking antidepressants. As such, if you have such thoughts after starting your medication, you should seek medical intervention immediately.

 

How to cope with antidepressant side effects
Tips to Cope With Side Effects of Antidepressants

 

This probably explains why the FDA ordered antidepressants drugs manufacturers to have package inserts indicating that adolescents and young adults with psychiatric disorders and major depressions are at high risk of suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, minimal risks have been reported in old patients aged 65 and above.

 

2. Seizures

Specific antidepressant medications can increase the risk of developing a seizure. In some situations, seizures can occur in patients who have never experienced seizures before. Though most antidepressants don’t increase the risk of seizures, bupropion or Wellbutrin is a common antidepressant drug that can trigger one. Traditional antidepressants, such as tricyclics, potentially increase the risks of seizures as well. However, new-generation antidepressants are less likely to cause seizures.

Most patients who have never experienced seizures may not actually realize these symptoms. Seizures resulting from antidepressants involve uncontrollable jerking movements of legs and arms, confusion, staring spells, abnormal sensations, and in some patients, loss of consciousness.

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3. Mania

Antidepressants can potentially trigger episodes of mania in patients with bipolar disorders. Bipolar disorder involves brief episodes of both hypomania and depression. Common symptoms of mania include sleeping difficulties, hyperactivity, grandiose thinking, extreme mood elevation, irritability, pressured speech, and racing thoughts. While mania is not life-threatening, prolonged episodes require medical attention for the readjustment of antidepressants.

 

4. Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is among the common comorbid conditions resulting from prolonged intake of depression drugs. As the name suggests, the syndrome occurs when serotonin, an essential brain neurotransmitter, is extremely high. The condition is common for patients using a combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors with another medication affecting serotonin levels in the brain.

Common combined antidepressant drugs that can cause serotonin syndrome include SSRIs, SNRIs, Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and other depression agents such as nefazodone, trazodone, Viibryd, and Trintellix. Common symptoms of this comorbid condition include sweating, shivering, diarrhea, confusion, muscle twitching, and agitation.

 

How to find the right antidepressant?
Finding the Right Antidepressant

 

5. Hyponatremia

This comorbid condition from depression drugs results in abnormally low sodium or salt levels in the blood. When such occurs, the body absorbs excessive amounts of fluid in the cells. These are effects of SSRIs, as these medications can hinder the proper functioning of the hormone responsible for sodium and fluid reuptake in the body. Hyponatremia often affects old patients.

Patients with mild symptoms of Hyponatremia often report confusion, headache, loss of appetite, and muscle pain. In severe cases, patients can experience disorientation, psychosis, seizures, fatigue, and agitation. This is a serious condition, as it can cause coma and a resultant death in depressed patients.

 

6. Sexual Problems

Patients on antidepressants also suffer from a lack of sexual desires or decreased ability to orgasm. While this can be reversed by stopping the medication, physicians often prefer prescribing a different antidepressant or combining them with drugs to treat erectile dysfunction. Patients shouldn’t stop taking the medications as it can worsen the symptoms of depression.

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7. Allergic Reactions

Allergies resulting from antidepressants can occur for many reasons. Common allergies occur if the patient is allergic to one of the medication’s active ingredients or allergic to fillers, dyes, and other non-active ingredients. Like other allergic reactions, symptoms of allergies include itchy rashes, blisters, difficulty in breathing, and swelling.

 

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Different patients react differently to depression drugs. If you develop either of these conditions, you might have to try different antidepressants to find one that suits your body. Regardless of the resulting comorbid condition, you shouldn’t stop taking your medications without consulting your doctor.

Your physician will likely recommend that you taper off the antidepressants slowly, enabling the brain to adjust to the changes. If you experience such side effects with your medication, schedule an appointment with EzCare Clinic for consultations.

 

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Emotional support animals follow their owners to areas that are off-limits to other pets. This is because they’re recommended as a treatment for mental afflictions like anxiety, depression, even PTSD. Not to be mistaken for service animals. The main distinction is its functions. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT While ESAs are companions, service animals help their disabled handlers with duties such as answering the door, carrying medicine, and guiding their movement. ESAs don’t need extra conditioning like their service counterparts whose training ranges from heeling, proofing, and performing specific tasks. Another difference is their certification. Your disability should match the ADA description for your service animal to be recognized. Conversely, an ESA letter is provided by your therapist. How ESAs Improve Your Travel Experience By lifting your mood, support animals eliminate the need for anxiety medication on your journey. Pills may be effective, but you’ll still have side effects like fatigue and nausea. Furthermore, they act as distractions during long trips. Instead of worrying, your mind is occupied by the animal. The fact that you have another creature to care for besides yourself gives you purpose. They thought of bonding with your pet may make an otherwise reserved person crave for adventure. ESAs also spark conversations between strangers. This is especially true for moments packed with tension like turbulence. Travel Necessities for Your ESA Traveling with their handlers gives ESAs an edge over ordinary pets. If you think moving with an animal is stressful, try it with a mental condition. Here are some trip essentials regardless of your mode of transport. Things to pack while travelling 5 Things to Pack While Travelling 1. ESA Letter An ESA letter is mandatory for any support animal in a plane cabin. For the document to be valid, however, it must fulfill the following specifications. The letter is on your issuing therapist’s letterhead. You’re currently under a licensed professional’s care. The letter contains the license date, type, and issuing state. Your illness is found in the DSM. You need the ESA for the trip or destination. The document requires an annual update. Ensure you alert the airline beforehand. Initially, you could show up with your pet without an announcement. The rules have since changed with most carriers requiring a 48-hour notice. Again, check your destination’s guidelines regarding support animals. Not all countries allow ESAs from foreign lands. 2. Travel Crate Apart from transportation, a travel crate protects your furry companion from harsh conditions like snow and rain. You’ll have to train your ESA if they’ve never experienced a carrier. In the initial stages, don’t lock the crate with the animal inside. The idea is viewing it as a safe space instead of a punishment. Likewise, put the case in the room your pet spends most of their time. Putting treats in the cage or feeding them next to it will keep your ESA interested. You can add blankets and toys to give the container a homely feel when on the move. Similarly, secure the cage to the seat or hold it to prevent the ESA from shifting. While at it, ensure your support creature gets sufficient air to prevent suffocation. You can do this by ditching the layovers during summer and getting a container with better ventilation. Although they come in different sizes, some animals are too big for a carrier. That’s where leashes come in. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT 3. Leash The crowds in airports and train stations are bound to stress your ESA. That’s why you need a leash to guide their movement and protect other travelers together with their belongings and animals from attack. But your pet isn’t the only cause of danger. For starters, your unrestrained dog might get run over if it wanders away in a bus station. It could also contract diseases after sniffing another animal’s droppings. Chains also make it easier to locate you in case your ESA gets lost. Most leashes include a tag for writing your identification details. Moreover, the restraint also makes your pet harder to steal. From resale and breeding to ransoms and fighting rings, animal theft is motivated by several reasons. Most importantly, the law demands you leash your animal. Games to play with dog How to Keep Your Dog Entertained on a Road Trip? 4. Bedding Repay your animal’s emotional support by keeping them comfortable. Though the airline can organize a special seat on request, your pup will be more settled in familiar bedding. If your pet doesn’t have a bed already, prioritize the quality of materials when shopping. Substandard fabrics are not only uncomfortable but also less durable. The size is also crucial. While a small bed will tire your ESA, a larger one is difficult to move. Even so, some models have straps and clips for portability. Surfaces that absorb moisture will develop an odor from the animal’s urine. This calls for a mild water-repelling spray. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT At EZCare Clinic, we recognize the role of ESAs in your psychological wellbeing. We specialize in numerous areas, for example, addiction treatment, nutrition, cosmetic services, pain management, mental, and sexual health. You deserve to live free, reach us for an appointment today.